Tag Archives: Observations

From a “Still Skeptical” post: Founding a Business

10 Jun

Check the date! This post was written over two years ago, in fact almost three. In it I outline accurately plans I still have to this day.

Founding a Business
I have been thinking a lot lately about the plan of what I want to do after college. And things may be coming together quite interestingly. There are big changes happening in agriculture, especially toward sustainable farming. Some ideas I have:

Found a non-loss, non-dividend Social Business.
Goal: Get organic into the lives of all rural families living below the poverty line for self-sufficiency and empowerment.
2. Market and sell organic produce in the US to ensure that small producers always have an outlet for excess production.
3. Research and disseminate best techniques for high-yield organic small farms.

Dealing in: high yield, direct trade, commercial organic fruits, vegetables, commodities, and herbs: banana, pineapple, cotton, corn, coffee, sugar cane, plantain, cocoa, dairy, livestock, name (root), noni (experimental), oregano, basil, etc.

Direct Trade: Microsupply/Microdemand.
Imagine buying a pack of bananas (organic and directly benefitting farmers and the environment, etc), from 4 different farms (individual farmer here could== coop region) in different regions/countries/local varieties. Say that bananas are not a uniform taste, as the clone seeds are—designed to be big and yellow on the outside and distributed by a single company. But organic actually taste better. How much better? You decide. Vote thumbs up or thumbs down on our website to let us know for each one, and look for your favorite in singles next time you go to the supermarket.
–> Some types sell out quicker and are higher rated… stores notice and request more from that farmer. Farmer can produce more funded by higher price. Exceptional examples could hit a “genetic jackpot” and maintain exclusive or sell seed.
–> Range of sticker prices based on ratings, with the best taste costing more and the low-range still a few cents higher than standard quality plantation banana.
–> Would give local farmers incentive to experiment, they may strike it rich! Would lend itself to organic non-gm farming, which already represents a large benefit to family ownership/livelihoods. With many small plots, could even find out what your farm is best at producing by rating against other small farmers.
–> New market for seeds can be grassroots-based in constant evolution and locally variant. Microsupply, microdemand for seed market as well driven by the larger research farms.

How? The internet can manage this quantity of data!

Local Campaign:
-With organic farms can do Community Shared Agriculture shares to benefit from added diversity of production, for any size farm even those that can’t make it international.
-Uncertified organic “gardens” can be grown in backyard for family or market, if seed is made available that doesn’t need fertilizers or pesticides. Reduce dependence on (costly, external) food and boost family income.
-“Preserve your environment and stand up for your livelihood because their economics is not working.” Support local farmers. Support organic. Organize and lobby for fair laws (while using the existing ones)
-Once you’re big enough, join your local coop for shared investments and shipments. Coops can work with us for finding buyers, brokering deals, farmer education, flyers etc.

Scattered, and still some things to work out, but well on the way to becoming the material and flesh of venture capital. Just need a team of impassioned individuals– consider this an invitation to ask more.

Posted by HP at 9:40 PM

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A Systems Perspective 2: Oil, Energy, and Recessions

24 Mar

A recession is defined as “a significant decline in [the] economic activity spread across the country, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP growth, real personal income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.” (New Bureau of Economic Research) It’s a little vague, and I remember Bush not wanting to announce an official “recession” back in 2008. Well, it was (is) one, and here’s the related chart:

For some of my background on recession writing, view:

This will be a post about oil and energy: what I used to write about optimistically (MaPSblog) but now see the extent of our fucked-ness. Read on, dear reader. As promised, a new economics post will be up Friday. This is post 2/3 of “A Systems Perspective”: Environmental Implications of America today.

What’s different?

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Local in Boston, Part 2

25 Jan

Each week, I like to visit and write about one local group in Boston. It’s part company profile, part a tribute to great food everywhere. Check in each week for a new destination in the local food movement!

Also, be sure to visit my pages for more updates on different projects. (top bar). If you want to be featured or work together, email eddiemill@gmail.com.

This week: Local in Boston, Part 2: City Feed and Supply! Specialty Grocery Store and Cafe in Jamaica Plains.
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If I were an Anthropologist…

29 Jun

I would probably come study Cartago

Originally passing through for motorcycle repair, gas, and to see the church, I ended up staying the night when I met a mechanic who offered me passage for the night. What I found was a pleasant city almost devoid of alcohol or bad influence.

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Culture Shock

8 Feb

“Bienvenidos a Costa Rica: paraíso ecológico para invertido y diversión.” So welcomed the customs sign on arrival in Costa Rica, my new tropical home.

Already my old kinship with this country is returning. The spectacular mountain views, tranquil field school, dense tropical rainforest and home gardeners grab and hold my attention. The town of Atenas where we are staying provides a close-knit community for locals while accomodating for large gringo tour groups seeking National Geographic’s famed “best climate in the world”. Indeed, the warm weather helps (70s and windy every day).

The first thing I notice this time around is the communications crevasse. Costa Ricans are not connected in the ways that we are, lacking high bandwidth internet and even cell phone service in some places. Lives simply aren’t as connected here to machines we have come to rely on. So far, underestimating this chaotic tendency has cost me an application for Echoing Green phase 2, a meeting with my farmer, and an amazing Forestdance festival in the South. It will take some adjusting and much advance planning to deal with this new reality.

Classes are great nonetheless, as I start Tropical Field Ecology, Sustainable Development Economics, Sociological Impacts of Tourism in Costa Rica, and Intro to Natural Resource management this week. I have already gotten to know all my professors, and the students are cool. It’s very close-knit. I see a lot of opportunity here to really expand my horizons.

Look for more updates soon. 2 weeks is the end of the honeymoon, now starts my real time exploring this beautiful country!

-Eddie Miller
BU ’10